In case you missed it, MLS Fantasy 2021 is live! Before we get into the changes and the players, you should join our two leagues! Join the classic league and join the head-to-head-league. Come play with us.
Now that you’ve joined the leagues, what’s new in 2021? Now much, honestly, but the one big change that applies to us is the best thing that could have been done. Last season, team values were frozen at $100m, so as your player’s salaries rose and fell, you were forced to release players who performed well to get under the salary cap. I know that the decision makers need to try to keep things fresh from year to year, but that was easily the most needless, poorly-conceived change that they could have made. It seems that they realized their mistake, because team value fluctuations are back! The team value starts at $100m and will rise and fall based on your players’ performances. What a relief.
So who should you put on your team for round one?
Most of the goalkeepers you’ll want are valued at $6.0M, the highest price point for keepers to begin the season. If you’re inclined to pay that price, I’d look at Joe Willis (NSH), as he hosts Cincinnati. If you’re a gambler, try on JT Marcinkowski (SJ, $5.0), who may start on the road against Houston. All I have to go off of is that he started San Jose’s recent preseason game. The Earthquakes happen to play the first match of the 2021 season, so if Marcinkowski doesn’t play, you have the chance to make some moves to get a playable backup.
Walker Zimmerman (NSH, $7.0) is the only defender with a price north of $6.0, and I can understand why you’d want to pair him with Joe Willis in the hopes of dual clean sheets, but you might be better served saving money and playing Daniel Lovitz (NSH, $6.0) instead. I like the less-expensive Jonathan Mensah (CLB, $5.5, vs. PHI) and Henry Kessler (NE, $5.0, @CHI), and I think Donovan Pines (DCU, $4.5, vs. NYC) is a must for the value.
I doubt you need me to tell you to play one of Nicolas Lodeiro (SEA, $10.5, vs. MIN), the game’s most expensive midfielder, or Alejandro Pozuelo (TOR, $10.0, @MTL). I also like Lewis Morgan (MIA, $9.5) vs. the Galaxy and Eduard Atuesta (LA, $9.5) at home against debuting Austin. On a budget, Darlington Nagbe (CLB, $6.0) should help you round out the position.
Carlos Vela (LA, $10.5)? Of course. Raul Ruidiaz (SEA, $10.0)? Absolutely. But don’t forget about Gustavo Bou (NE, $9.5) if you need to shave $0.5 off of that budget. I also quite like Valentin Castellanos (NYC, $8.0) even though they’re playing D.C. United, because 1) he’s affordable, 2) he’s scoring goals in preseason, and 3) someone has to do the job for them.
Now that you’re prepared, join our leagues, make your team, and we’ll see you next week for the recap of round one.